Joe Kubert, comic book artist, dies at 85

Joe Kubert, one of the last of the great American comic book artists as well as the founder of The Kubert School, has died.

Kubert died Aug. 12 in Morristown, N.J. of multiple myeloma, according to the New York Times. He was 85.

Kubert was born to a Jewish family in southeast Poland, and immigrated to New York as a baby. He started drawing comics at an early age, and began working for DC Comics in the 1940s. At the end of his life, he continued to draw in the hospital despite his illness.

“He’s the longest-lived continuously important contributor to the field,” Paul Levitz, a former president of DC Comics, told the New York Times. “There are two or three of the greats left, but he’s definitely one of the last.”

Kubert is best known for his work on the DC Comics characters Sgt. Rock and Hawkman. He was inducted into the Harvey Awards’ Jack Kirby Hall of Fame in 1997 and the Will Eisner Comic Book Hall of Fame in 1998.

Kubert also worked on a number of Jewish projects, including “Cartoonists Against the Holocaust” for the David S. Wyman Institute for Holocaust Studies, a traveling exhibit of 1940s political cartoons from American newspapers about the Jews in Nazi Europe, and a two-page adventure comic with moral lessons called “The Adventures of Yaakov and Isaac” for the Lubavitch magazine Moshiach Times, the Jewish Daily Forward reported.

He is also known as one of the leaders of the Wyman Institute’s unsuccessful campaign to persuade the Auschwitz State Museum in Poland to return eight paintings belonging to Dina Babbitt, a fellow cartoonist and illustrator. He started a petition that gathered more than 450 signatures of comic book creators from around the world and international attention for her cause.

He founded The Kubert School in Dover, N.J., to train future illustrators. It is the only accredited school devoted entirely to cartooning and graphic art. — jta